Apple Watch teardown reveals plethora of high-end chips

ABI Research’s TeardownIQ reveals a design centered on a custom Apple Processor (APL 0778) but includes Broadcom (BCM43342), Dialog PMU, NXP (NFC controller), and AMS (NFC booster) connectivity, IDT wireless charger receiver, Elpida RAM, SanDisk / Toshiba Flash memory, STM sensors, and a couple ADI capacitive touch solutions.

“The design is an obvious variation from Apple’s smartphones, with many high-end functions / chips included that normally would not be found in a simple watch,” comments Jim Mielke, VP Engineering at ABI Research and head of the TeardownIQ group, in a statement. “Judging by the complexity of the printed circuit board (PCB), and the number of parts on the PCB, one might think the Apple watch is a full-fledged cellular connected watch but in fact connectivity is limited to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.”

A few of key surprises in the design are two touch controller design wins for ADI, and the IDT wireless charging receiver. ADI has not seen a lot of design wins in mobile devices over the last 3 to 5 years but it seems to have a new focus as it has shown up in this Apple design and its sensors were revealed in a few other very recent teardowns.

ABI Research: Apple Watch Teardown
ABI Research: Apple Watch Teardown

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Teardowns Market Research, which includes Parts Lists, High-Res Photos, and Power and Performance Testing.

Source: ABI Research

MacDailyNews Take: Wow, Apple Watch contains 4Gb (512MB) of SRAM (which is generally faster, more power efficient and costs more to produce than DRAM) onboard or the same amount that shipped in iPhone 4s!


  1. In 1987 my dad ran 4 clothing shops off a Apple IIe rigged cash register hooked into custom POS software attached to a 12 MegaByte hard drive that was the size of a toaster. They’ve come a long way!

    1. In 1992, I talked my school board into buying me a 1 Gb hard drive to act as a server for about 30 Macs on an AppleTalk network. When it came, it was bigger than a shoebox. This watch has 8 Gb of flash memory! And it costs WAY less too.

      1. Because of the unique “Gb” reference in the MDN Take, I think you mis-quoted your specs. You mean your drive was 1 GB (large “B”), just as the Apple watch has 8 GB (large “B”) of flash memory. As the MDN Take states, it’s the SDRAM memory in the watch that is 4 Gb (little “B”) which is actually only equal to 512MB.

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